ID:44 Making space for Multiple ways of knowing

23 February 2023 | 08:30 - 10:00 (GMT+1)
23 February 2023 | 10:30 - 12:30 (GMT+1)

Open Session - HYBRID


Room: Hörsaal 3


Session Conveners:  Enooyaq Sudlovenick (University of Manitoba, Canada); Victoria Bushman (University of Alaska Fairbanks, United States / Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Greenland); Stanislav Ksenofontov (University of Northern Iowa, USA)


Session Abstract

Arctic science has benefited tremendously from partnerships with Indigenous People and Russian Native People. These communities are increasingly involved in monitoring efforts aimed at understanding how and why the environment is changing. This session focuses on community-based projects taking place in Indigenous communities and Russian native people, with focus on methodologies and co-production. We would like to invite presentations across all disciplines (natural and social) that feature successful community engagement initiatives, and explore different methodologies used across the northern hemisphere. Abstracts that include multiple knowledge sources will have strong priority in this session.



  • unfold_moreThe role of indigenous communities in the RISE project: the case of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

    Tuyara Gavrilyeva; Varvara Parilova


    International joint research project Climate Change Resilience of Indigenous Socio-Ecological systems (RISE) started in April 2021 and will run until March 2024. Our multidisciplinary research group comprises 3 national teams from Japan, Russia, and Thailand. Importantly, our teams have an established record of research collaboration with the indigenous communities that are the focus of this project. The project aims at understanding the importance of traditional food systems as socio-ecological systems for indigenous communities from the perspective of their socioeconomic and nutritional contribution to their livelihoods and analyzing impacts from projected climate change on the food species to estimate future risks and scope for adaptation. RISE is structured into several work packages. The purpose of WP1 is to characterize household conditions in our study communities through the collection of economic data and traditional food use. Systematic household surveys conduct to obtain information about socioeconomic characteristics of the households. Key participants are a family head or other members who play major roles in procuring and managing food in the household. We used focus group discussions and in-depth interviews for understanding the perceived effects of ongoing climate change on socioecological systems and the integrity of natural food species and adaptation capacity of the indigenous communities. Questions are focus on the integrity of natural/traditional food species according to ecosystem types, changes in the socioecological systems over the last decade perceived by the community, particularly in relation to climate change, and any adaptation response made by the community to those changes.

  • unfold_moreNot created/treated equal? Power, domination and ways of knowing

    Daria Burnasheva


    The paper presents an Indigenous feminist perspective on the study of the wildfires in Sakha (Yakutia), Russia. Currently, the wildfires in Russia are monitored and researched using the aerial imagery data. This aerial view is now even further detached from the ground with introduction of satellite imagery. The paper argues that these methods actually tend to drive our views away from human and non-human communities on the land invisibilizing them. The paper claims that aerial or satellite imagery should not be a sole and dominating method for monitoring and researching the wildfires and their consequences. It should be used together with methods and ways of knowing that are based on the ground. Although such interdisciplinary approach is not novel, we should avoid its understanding as trying to bring two different knowledge systems together in order to construct one fitting-for-all type of knowledge system. Rather, we should strive to understand these knowledge systems in relation to power and domination. When it comes to power relations, the ‘air-borne’ and ‘grass-borne’ ways of knowing are not equal no matter how often we recognize their equal importance for monitoring and research. It is about their non-equal opportunities. The problem is – who holds most power? The system should be challenged so that the power is shared equally among different ways of knowing. It is about promoting justice and creating equal opportunities for different ways of knowing to act and influence the decision-making processes on monitoring, management and mitigation of the wildfires.

  • unfold_moreInuit qaujimajatuqangit of indicators of salinity change in eastern Hudson Bay

    Megan Sheremata1; Lucassie Arragutainaq2; Gita Ljubicic3; Joel Heath4; William Gough5
    1University of Toronto; 2Sanikiluaq Hunters and Trappers Association; 3McMaster University; 4Arctic Eider Society; 5University of Toronto Scarborough


    Salinity change has been observed in ocean waters across the circumpolar north. In eastern Hudson Bay (EHB), salinity change dates back to the 1970s and the development of the James Bay Project. Hydroelectricty development has shifted the total amount and seasonality of peak freshwater outflow from the La Grande River into northeastern James Bay and EHB. The resulting impacts on sea ice, wildlife, and Inuit land-use in winter have been compounded by the effects of global climate change. This paper discusses a study of Inuit qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit sources of knowledge) of salinity change in winter in EHB, conducted as part of a broad, transdiciplinary research program led by the eastern Hudson Bay Community-Driven Research Network (CDRN) and involving hunters and community leaders in Kuujjuaraapik, Umiujaq and Inukjuak in Nunavik, and Sanikiluaq, Qikiqtait (Belcher Islands), Nunavut. Elders and younger sea ice users contributed knowledge of salinity change in interviews and collaborative analysis workshops with a settler academic researcher, local research associates, research assistants, and Inuktutit-English interpreters. Inuit have observed the progressive freshening of seasonal sea ice and under-ice waters, which has had wide-ranging impacts on Inuit lands and land-use. These impacts have been undercharacterized in studies of the region, and in assessments of environmental change. Inuit quajimajtuqangit of indicators of salinity change provides critical insights on salinity change, but also points to ethical concerns on the use of these indicators in environmental monitoring. A discussion of these concerns also sheds light on opportunities for transformations in research and environmental assessment practices.

  • unfold_moreIndigenous Knowledge Systems and Co-production of Knowledge: Experiences in Kamchatka, Russia

    Victoria Sharakhmatova
    University of Northern Iowa


    Recently, the Indigenous Knowledge systems has undergone a significant change and has been influenced by various factors. Indigenous data collected by various academic institutions and researchers are being published, digitized, and databases of Indigenous Knowledge are being accessed. There are different protocols and existing data management practices for managing such data, but it is also essential to develop different principles for the sovereignty of such indigenous data in the context of open data research. Among the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic, there is great interest in seeing Indigenous Knowledge maintained within communities and also used appropriately in other settings. There is concern over where efforts to use Indigenous peoples’ knowledge is leading by the scientist's. Many Indigenous Peoples in Kamchatka fear that their knowledge is rapidly disappearing, as elders pass away without passing their valuable knowledge on to younger generations. What can be done to change this trend? Are there examples of successful efforts to perpetuate indigenous knowledge in the communities in the modern era? When Indigenous Knowledge is used in scientific programs, it is not clear how it can be evaluated properly. Scientific research is evaluated through “peer review,” but Indigenous Knowledge can only really be evaluated by members of the community in which the knowledge is held. Are there appropriate counterparts to “peer review” that can be applied to Indigenous Knowledge? The use of Indigenous Knowledge outside the community is sometimes described as a choice between benefiting the community or benefiting the researchers. Are there ways to study and use Indigenous Knowledge to benefit both groups?

  • unfold_moreEngaging Greenlandic Inuit in knowledge co-production on sea ice using culturally appropriate methods

    Brigt Dale1; Parnuna Egede Dahl2; Jonathan Ryan3; Paninnguaq Korneliussen4
    1Nordland Research Institute; 2Oceans North Kalaallit Nunaat; 3University of Oregon; 4University of Greenland


    To learn about the importance of sea ice for local Inuit communities and improve sea ice thickness models, an interdisciplinary team travelled to Uummannaq Fjord in Greenland in Spring 2022. With a focus on knowledge co-production and engaging and culturally appropriate with the communities, the team employed a variety of methods, including a sharing circle, kaffemik (a social gathering), interviews with individuals and focus groups, creating manuals and tutorial videos with youth, social media, active engagement with fishers on ice trips, and informal discussions with locals at cultural occasions. We found that some methods of engagement worked better than others. For example, the sharing circle proved of great value both for the team and for the participants, effectively initiating generational knowledge transfer between youth and elders. On the other hand, the kaffemik did not attract the intended audience, emphasizing the importance of social relations and reason for occasion when organizing such activities.

  • unfold_moreCommunity-engaged approach to documenting Indigenous geospatial knowledge and landscape cognition

    Nadezhda Mamontova; Elena Klyachko


    This presentation discusses a community-engaged open-access GIS toponymic platform, based on Indigenous Evenki place names collected through fieldwork in Eastern Siberia in 2017-2021. Most projects on Indigenous toponymy available online are either oriented towards professional use among scholars or serve as enclosed repositories of Indigenous knowledge. Toponymic atlases remain the most common form of documenting and representing Indigenous place naming systems. Yet, temporal and geographic comparisons of place names have clearly demonstrated that, along with a conventional understanding of Indigenous place names as stable and conservative, there is a dynamic model of place naming to be found in nomadic societies, when the names are not only passed through generations but also modified and created. This finding required a number of methodological approaches regarding how researchers might collect and represent geospatial concepts and place names in nomadic societies, with the use of GIS technology. Our project attempts to approach this issue by creating an open digital platform that combines GIS with Indigenous vernacular cartography, place names, and a great variety of data regarding the meaning and use of toponyms, their evolution and change. This report presents the platform and discusses its creation and use.

  • unfold_moreCommunity Engagement and Knowledge Co-Production Through the Lens of Photography in Nikolai and McGrath AK

    James Temte
    Alaska Pacific University Office of Research and Community Engagement


    Knowledge co-production can take on many forms. PhotoVoice is a qualitative knowledge co-production research strategy used in community-based participatory research to document and reflect an individual’s reality. It is an empowering and flexible process that combines the art of photography with grassroots social action. In our NSF Navigating the New Arctic project Frozen Commons: Change, Resiliance and Sustainability in the Arctic 2021–2026 we explore the use of photography to spur conversations related to the frozen lands and resources that communities and stakeholders depend on. Beginning with photography workshops we inspire creativity and storytelling through community members photography and community exhibitions. Community members in McGrath, AK and Nikolai, AK bring new insights and perspectives from the land, and raise awareness of hidden or overlooked issues, priorities, and aspects of communities as they relate to the frozen commons.

  • unfold_moreArctic rain on snow events: bridging observations to understand environmental and livelihood impacts

    Bruce C. Forbes1; Annett Bartsch2; Julia Gustafson3; Andrew P. Barrett3; Marc C. Serreze3; Matthew L. Druckenmiller3; Shari Fox3; Jessica Voveris3; Julienne Stroeve3; Betsy Sheffield3; Sirpa Rasmus1; Roza Laptander1; Michael J. Brook4; Mike Brubaker5; James Temte5; Michelle R. McCrystall6
    1University of Lapland; 2b.geos GmbH; 3University of Colorado Boulder; 4Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; 5Alaska Pacific University; 6University of Manitoba


    When rain falls on an existing cover of snow, followed by low temperatures, or falls as freezing rain, it can leave a hard crust. These Arctic rain on snow (ROS) events can profoundly influence the environment and in turn, human livelihoods. Impacts can be immediate (e.g. on human travel, herding, or harvesting) or evolve or accumulate, leading to massive starvation-induced die-offs of reindeer, caribou, and musk oxen, for example. We provide here a review and synthesis of Arctic ROS events and their impacts, addressing human-environment relationships, meteorological conditions associated with ROS events, and challenges in their detection. From our assessment of the state of the science, we conclude that while (a) systematic detection of ROS events, their intensity, and trends across the Arctic region can be approached by combining data from satellite remote sensing, atmospheric reanalyses, and meteorological station records; (b) obtaining knowledge and information most germane to impacts, such as the thickness of ice layers, how ice layers form within a snowpack, and antecedent conditions that can amplify impacts, necessitates collaboration and knowledge co-production with community members and indigenous knowledge-holders. Both the Arctic Rain on Snow Study (AROSS) and the project Drivers and Feedbacks of Changes in Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity (CHARTER) were co-developed with indigenous and local partners, including Arctic herders, hunters, fishers and gatherers. We emphasize direct interaction to interpret multiple ways of knowing from around the Circumpolar Arctic.